I sailed 4000 nm my first season (last season) in the Bahamas
. I have a 6.5' draft
and never ran aground, but I was always careful. I passed through the Abaco
a couple of times. The first of those I took "long" routes to avoid shallower areas. The second time I took advantage of the tides and was able to cut off a lot of miles.
But the key is to have good charts
. In the Abaco
I used Dodge's book. I'm now planning 6 months in the Bahamas
south of the Abaco where it is even shallower. I'm using the Explorer Charts
. Yes, I will not be able to get into many of the ports/marinas, but most places there are anchorages
that will give me good access.
If you can't get into marinas
or real close in, then you are going to be more susceptible to rolling at anchor
. You might even have to move with shifting winds. But it can be done and I'm looking forward to the beaches and snorkeling in the Exuma and elsewhere.
The most important thing that I can stress is that you need good ground tackle that you trust. In a blow, even in a protected location, you can have huge loads on your ground tackle. You should always use a snubber (made of nylon line, not one of those rubber things) and I carry a special one the design of which was recommended by Practical Sailor for very windy conditions.